Your job as an Artist is to communicate.
So you just want to make a quick noise and become famous, with everyone falling over themselves to view your sex tape on YouTube?
That ain’t art it is self-aggrandizement. Sure, it is a thing that many Rock & Pop musicians indulge in a bit to appear larger than life so fans get interested in them but it must be done with care. I am watching Duran Duran in concert from 1982 and they are putting in the effort to be fabulous, but it is about the music. The performance. It is not about them being twats, or prats.
The Durans are putting in a performance that builds themselves. And builds me as I watch and enjoy them.
I get that you are a musician and you think your work speaks enough for you so you can hide away. But think about the people who you revere? They are people, you can define them as people with human features, characteristics, traits, and interests.
Mr. Smith at home may not be much like Robert Smith of The Cure but Robert of The Cure is a really easily defined character. Iconic even. The real Robert created the Robert Smith we know by communicating with us.
I have increasingly noticed that many aspiring musicians (and probably other creators too) are not putting in the effort to communicate. What I see or more to the point don’t see is:
Little to no Biographical material
Not giving a picture and some sense of who you are is like a Playboy bunny wearing a trenchcoat and balaclava in her shoot. No one cares about your parent’s jobs but just a few words take you from being a non-person to being someone.
Over on Unigon Plane we got a pretty cool Sci-Fi book from an author with no more than an out of date photo. Turns out that the author is actually a pretty well-known developer of levels for a popular computer game. He is already someone, as well as having an interest that proves that he is one of us to Sci-Fi geeks.
Just adding that wee bit of info has helped take that guy from no one to a definable person we can relate to.
Desire to Perform
The idea of Performing may be enough to make you need fresh trousers, after hosing out the room BUT stepping across that divide is exactly what audiences want to see when they are looking to be entertained, touched, raised out of the ordinary…
I may be Aspie and naturally a bit on the retiring side but I loved stage work immensely. The stage is my defined space. They are on the floor and I am up here. They are looking to be made happy and I can give them that. Sure at times, I had audiences who didn’t want to join in but so long as I did my bit then it was more about them than about me.
Being a DJ for weddings, parties and particularly school shows where we had about 500 kids on the floor is not a thing where you want to be retiring. Sure I knew plenty of guys who thought it enough to stand there, pressing play every 3.5 mins but they didn’t get re-booked. We got re-booked and recommended because we had an emphasis on performance – my overweight & ugly 60yo boss and I in my ripped t-shirt worked it.
It wasn’t uncommon at the start of an event (esp when I worked Pubs) for some of the crowd to want to look down on us, laugh at us… but it didn’t take long before we had people realize that we were there to entertain them and they would join in.
If you give the audience nothing, that is what you will get back. If you give it all, then you will be building something and what you get back is greater. Even if only half of the crowd give themselves back to the stage then you have 4 people receiving from 50 people. Good math. Great feeling.
Not only that but you now have fans, people who want to own the CD & the t-shirt.
The great news is that it works almost as well over YouTube, Facebook, and even an with an ebook.
Willingness to Converse with Supporters
Your fans & other supporters want part of you and it is your job to give it to them. Otherwise, it is like starting a conversation with someone then walking away.
If you meant to offend then well done. If not, then you aren’t building but destroying your career.
If you are an Indi, and I assume you are reading this, then look very carefully at how you communicate with your fans and other people who show interest or otherwise seek to support you.
Are you treating every one of them as a special person with whom you seek to build a better relationship? OR… Are you ignoring them, being condescending or generally making them feel stupid for having shown interest in you?
Building or destroying?
Building is taking the time to have a chat, answering questions from the press, saying a full thank you to people who give you gifts or otherwise help you with support, whether you asked for it or not. That makes people what to do these things for you again.
Destroying is refusing to engage with anyone, ignoring or brushing off people who have wanted to say hello or have done something to help you. This makes people never want to support you again.
If you act like you are only interested if Rolling Stone magazine delivers a rave review, or a Kardashian comes to your show then you are destroying your career faster than you can build it.
Hitting the Like button on Facebook is NOT ENOUGH. Nor is a one-word answer. Both of these are a slap in the face. While you can pretend they show politeness, they actually don’t if they don’t reflect the enthusiasm that the other person put in.
The rules of good conversation say that you need to mirror your partner. If they put in some effort and you don’t then you destroy their interest in you.
The internet is on your phone. Your phone goes everywhere with you so there is no excuse in the world, if you want to be building your brand and career, that you wouldn’t give nice replies to emails, share things on Facebook and create links to fan content within a day of the event. This builds.